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Bruins sign forward Vatrano to entry-level contract

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 1:20 PM / News

BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, March 13, that the club has signed UMass-Amherst forward Frank Vatrano to an entry-level contract. Vatrano will report to the Providence Bruins.

Vatrano finished up his the 2014-15 season at UMass-Amherst with 18 goals (six power play goals) and 10 assists for 28 points in 36 appearances. The 20-year-old's 18 goals led the squad, while his 28 points ranked second on the team. Vatrano appeared in one game for the Minutemen in 2013-14.

Prior to joining UMass, Vatrano played with the Boston Jr. Bruins of the EJHL (Eastern Junior Hockey League) in 2012-13, where he notched 13 goals (tied for second on the team) and nine assists for 22 points in 19 games. Vatrano also played eight games for the Boston Jr. Bruins in 2009-10, where he tallied two assists.

Graovac rewarding Wild with breakout AHL season

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 12:20 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to

At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Tyler Graovac is hard to miss.

But all 30 NHL teams did just that, bypassing Graovac 190 times until the Minnesota Wild finally selected him at No. 191 with their last pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

"I knew when it came down to [draft weekend], I wasn't really expected to go high," Graovac said. "Getting picked seventh round by Minnesota was a little bit of a shock because I had had a lot of interviews with teams that year and Minnesota was the only one who didn't interview me. But it's been going great. They've been very patient with me."

That patience has paid dividends, as the 21-year-old center has excelled in his second season with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Fifty-eight games into the 2014-15 season, Graovac has nearly doubled his offensive output from last season, leading Iowa in goals (19), points (40), power-play goals (eight), and shots on goal (163). He's had 10 multipoint games.

Lee, Lehtera can help down stretch in fantasy

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

With a little more than four weeks remaining in the regular season and fantasy hockey leagues, it's time to take a look at some players that need to be owned in far more leagues for the stretch run. These players could be the difference in winning or losing your league, so add them now before you regret it during the offseason.

Anders Lee, C/LW, New York Islanders – available in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues

In the past 30 days in Yahoo leagues, only Lee's teammate John Tavares, and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals have been more valuable fantasy forwards. During that time Lee has seven goals, nine assists, a plus-11 rating, 12 penalty minutes, three power-play points and 53 shots on goal. Lee spent a lot of that productive ice time on a line with Tavares, but was reunited on the "Kid line" with Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson on Tuesday, where he found success earlier in the season. Lee is playing the best hockey of his young career and his 23 goals rank second among NHL rookies (behind Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman, who has 24).

Presidents' Trophy race six-way tie hitting stretch run

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 10:46 AM / News

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

How close is the race for the Presidents' Trophy this season? Historically it's never been closer.

With about one month left in the regular season, the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks are tied atop the standings with 91 points.

Since expansion in 1967, it's the first time this many teams have been tied for first place in the League on March 13. The previous mark was two teams, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings with 97 points in 2008-09 and the Canadiens and Calgary Flames with 90 points in 1987-88.

Around the League notebook for Thursday, March 12

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


Brian Elliott made 28 shots through overtime and remained perfect in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the shootout to lift the Blues to their third straight win and into first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

* The Blues (43-19-5, 91 points) also pulled into a tie in terms of points with five other teams for first place in the entire NHL, where the top eight teams are separated by three points.

* Elliott posted his 29th career shutout (fourth this season). He has 20 of those shutouts since joining the Blues in 2011-12, tying Jaroslav Halak for first place in franchise history. Only Jonathan Quick (22) has more shutouts among NHL goaltenders in that span.

* Blues coach Ken Hitchcock (700-446-161, .606%) became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 700 wins, joining Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour and Joel Quenneville. He did so while facing the Flyers, the team he coached from 2002-03 to 2006-07.

Flames credit comeback success to fitness level

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- From an office overlooking the fitness facility in the bowels of Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames strength and conditioning coach Ryan van Asten took a moment and paused.

Then, peering out from his desk in the direction of his other, bigger office of gym equipment, van Asten suggested he knew at least part of the reason the Flames have found success in the second season of what is supposed to be a rebuilding process.


"You kind of have to look at it as so many different variables," he said atop an exercise ball. "I like to think that piece of the puzzle is paying off, what we do in the gym. We train every day. There are so many different factors. One of them is, we've done it so many different times, is confidence. At the end of the day, if you don't have the physiological resources, it's all for naught.

Super 16: Norris Trophy race has no clear-cut favorite

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

With about a month left in the season, the top three or four candidates for every major individual award except one are pretty clear.

That one is the Norris Trophy, and this might be the most wide-open race of any individual award in the past several seasons. Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames was considered a favorite by many prominent pundits, but his injury has left as many as 15 or 16 defensemen with a case to be in the conversation.

There is no clear-cut favorite. If someone says there is, that someone isn't paying nearly enough attention to the data available to judge defensemen.

Rangers' Klein out 3-4 weeks with upper-body injury

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 7:05 PM / News Staff

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein will miss 3-4 weeks because of an upper-body injury, the Rangers announced Thursday.

Klein, who sustained the injury blocking a shot by Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday in a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals, had his left arm examined, according to The Journal News.

Klein, acquired from the Nashville Predators last season in a trade for defenseman Michael Del Zotto, leads Rangers defensemen with nine goals and 26 points in 65 games. He is also plus-24.

Sharks' Torres hopes to continue career after surgery

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 6:12 PM / News

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres, two weeks removed from the third major right-knee surgery of his career, said he's encouraged he'll be able to return to the NHL next season.

"Yeah, big-time," Torres said. "I've had a chance to rest mentally and physically big-time too. I know I've only played 5-10 games in the last two years, but I feel refreshed. I'm on a track right now where I know what I have to do in order to be successful and stay in the League and help the team out."

Torres played five regular-season and seven Stanley Cup Playoff games last season after injuring the ACL in his right knee during a preseason game and having surgery to replace the damaged ligament. He hasn't played a game this season because of an infection that forced surgeons to remove the ACL.

Canadiens, Jets moving AHL teams next season

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 6:02 PM / News

The American Hockey League announced Thursday that Montreal Canadiens ownership, Club de Hockey Canadien Inc., acquired and then relocated the Hamilton Bulldogs to St. John's and will begin play there in the 2015-16 season.

"We are delighted in making St. John's our new home and look forward to playing in front of fans who have long been Canadiens supporters and who will now have an opportunity to watch our finest prospects as they hone their skills with our AHL affiliate team," Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said in a statement.

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process